Can Bleach Hurt Your Puppy?

by Elizabeth Muirhead
    Your nosy puppy may try to play in bleach, and that's a no-no.

    Your nosy puppy may try to play in bleach, and that's a no-no.

    David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Bleach can hurt your puppy significantly, causing problems from mild stomach irritation to coughing to skin irritation to ulceration. The ASPCA’s “Toxicology Brief” lists bleach as among the most common toxicities for pets. You have to be careful when using bleach to minimize risk.

    Bleach is an alkaline material with a high pH. Because of this, your puppy could consume more bleach than an acid because it won’t irritate him right away. Gastrointestinal irritation is common after exposure, but chemical burns can also occur. Bleach is corrosive; inhaling it can cause coughing or airway spasms. Commercial bleach is typically more highly concentrated, making it more hazardous.

    Your puppy needs a veterinarian immediately. If he was exposed on his skin or fur, wash the area well to decontaminate. Don’t make your puppy vomit. Give him milk to bind with the bleach and minimize its effects. Your vet may give your puppy medications or supportive care.

    Bleach is useful for disinfecting kennels and other areas dogs frequent, as certain contagions including ringworm and parvo aren’t decontaminated by most household cleaners except bleach. Use a diluted bleach concentration to clean, only when the dog's nowhere around. Contact your veterinarian about dilution ratio. Rinse well. If you rinse and can still smell the bleach, don’t fret. Ventilate the room.

    Photo Credits

    • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.

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